'One moment in time, one moment that haunts my mind'

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

Hyrum Paea suffers severe brain damage following an alcohol-related driving incident. 

After a night of drinking, Hyrum Paea fell off the back of a ute and was run over by another vehicle, changing his life forever.

Told he would never walk or talk again, Hyrum has overcome major challenges to share his story in the hope of helping others see the bigger picture.

His story has inspired the new campaign, 'One Moment in Time', by The Gisborne District Council Road Safety team, challenging people to curb their drink-driving and other reckless driving behavior.

Māori cultural advisor for The Gisborne District Council, Walton Walker says, "His courage and strength must be commended, for pursuing this initiative to prevent others from suffering from alcohol-related injuries."

The tragic events of that night in 2012 led to seven years of painful recovery for Hyrum Paea and his family.

“This person, this young man, he knows about the consequences of going in a vehicle while intoxicated, and the risk that this might happen to you,” says Walker.

According to The Gisborne District Council, Te Tairāwhiti has the second-highest rate of drink-driving, speed-related crashes, and loss of control of a motor vehicle.

On the East Coast between January and October 2019, there have been 73 minor crashes, 29 serious crashes, and 2 fatal motor vehicle accidents, all involving alcohol. 

Walker says, “It's said that many of those affected by these events involving alcohol and smoking are Māori who go to parties and still drive even though they're extremely intoxicated.”

The Gisborne District Council Road Safety campaign calls for the community to make the right decisions about drinking and driving.

 “It must be adhered to and achieved so that these phenomena don't have an impact upon our children”, says Walker.

Hyrum Paea says 'you can have fun without drinking, just be yourself.'

For more information about the campaign, visit www.onemomentintime.co.nz